General English



  • verb to check, estimate or find out


  • verb to calculate the value of something, especially for tax or insurance purposes

Origin & History of “assess”

The literal meaning of Latin assidēre, ultimate source of assess, was ‘sit beside someone’ (it was a compound verb formed from the prefix ad- ‘near’ and sedēre ‘sit’, a relative of English sit). this developed the secondary meaning ‘sit next to a judge and assist him in his deliberations’ (which lies behind English assize), and in medieval Latin the sense passed from helping the judge to performing his functions, particularly in fixing the amount of a fine or tax to be paid. Hence English assess, which came via Old French assesser from Latin assess-, the past participial stem of assidēre. (The Latin adjective assiduus, formed from assidēre in the sense ‘apply oneself to something’, gave English assiduous (16th c.).).